The majority of consumers, about 81%, say they want more self-service options, but most businesses believe only 60% of customers would be interested. This 21% gap in understanding consumers’ needs means businesses are not focusing enough on increasing self-service options to meet demand. It’s no surprise that customers have come to expect digital-first customer self-service from their financial institutions. And fortunately, many financial institutions are rising to the challenge of the self-service revolution and taking steps to develop modern digital strategies that provide customers with streamlined service delivery, easily accessible products, and efficient digital banking platforms.

Depending on your institution’s offerings and goals, this could look like anything from automated customer service chatbots, digital onboarding solutions, or even complete digital banking platforms for both business and personal accounts. As with any digital strategy, success will depend on regular innovation, evolution, and customization to meet changing customer needs.

What is the self-service revolution?
The self-service revolution has been an ongoing digital transformation effort over the last decade, as customers increasingly have moved from face-to-face and telephone-based customer service interactions toward digital-first customer self-service models.

Top 3 Areas for Financial Institutions to Offer Better Self-Service Options

Better Chat Support Options

Chat is quickly becoming the preferred digital channel for customers of financial institutions across the globe. Despite this, only a shocking 31% of businesses offer chat as a primary digital-first customer self-service option. While this may provide short-term cost savings, there could be long-term implications of not meeting customers’ digital needs and preferences. Offering digital options like chat support is essential to meet the changing customer needs and digital expectations of financial institution customers.

An emerging channel for digital customer self-service is accessing self-service options or chat support through social media. Sadly, many are not yet offering service on this digital touchpoint due to the lack of internal resources or the fact that their digital presence is not optimized for customer support. Companies find themselves stumped by needing to provide excellent digital customer service while unable to ensure that the level of service they are providing is up to standard. It remains a challenge for many, but those who do make an effort to stay up-to-date on digital technology can certainly be rewarded down the road.

Improved Digital Account Opening Solutions

Banks and other financial institutions should prioritize digital-first customer self-service options to ensure quality and efficient service. One avenue to consider is offering digital account opening, such as digital identification and digital document scanning. This will assist customers with instant access to services without waiting in long lines or having their queries answered slowly over the phone.

Digital-first customer self-service offers numerous advantages for customers, from quick, efficient transaction processing to round-the-clock availability and enhanced security for online financial services. Banks and financial institutions that implement digital customer self-service can then focus on addressing other customer needs that can’t be addressed without a representative quickly and efficiently.

Full-Service Mobile Applications

It is increasingly important for financial institutions to provide digital-first customer self-service options via mobile. Apps offer financial services providers an ideal way to meet customers exactly where they are in their daily lives – on their phones. This digital convenience increases customer satisfaction, inspires trust and loyalty in the brand, and ultimately drives revenue.

With a full-service app, customers are granted access to a vast range of services, including the ability to open an account and even manage deposits, investments, and loans. Providing an interface that makes managing your finances easier for customers is beneficial not only for them but also for the financial institution. Having digital tools that promote convenience and reliability provides a more satisfying customer experience which will ultimately lead to positive outcomes in business growth.

Key Takeaways:

Digital Account Opening Solution

By implementing a digital account opening solution like IgniteConnex, banks, credit unions, and other financial service providers can increase their self-service options and onboard new customers much faster. We can help your digital transformation by enhancing the account opening experience and digital onboarding process for new customers. Access a cost-effective solution that can offer your financial institution enhanced security, a good return on investment, and scalable growth. Schedule a Demo to learn more!

Nobody starts a business with the intention of only being around for a few years. As our world becomes increasingly digital, any company hoping to compete must keep up with constantly changing technology, and that includes financial institutions. More and more customers are doing the majority of their banking online, and many financial institutions are struggling to stay ahead of the curve. A digital transformation is one key to making sure your institution is still doing business five years from now.

Downward Trend in Bank Numbers

Over the past 30 years, the number of FDIC-insured institutions in the United States has plummeted at a precipitous rate. Since 1989, the number of banks has dropped from 14,469 to 4,236—a decrease of more than ten thousand closures. The average annual decline in the number of FDIC-insured banks has been 3.86% for the past decade. At this rate, the number of banks will be cut in half in the next 20 years, and by the 2080s, there could be as few as 450 FDIC-insured banks left in the country.

Small banks are far more likely to be victims of these closures than large banks. Banks with more than $100 billion in assets make up only 1% of the total banks in the United States but hold about 70% of the industry’s total assets. Meanwhile, only about one-third of small banks—those that hold less than $10 billion in assets– that existed in 1990 are still in operation. Mid-sized banks have seen both their assets and insured deposits decline by around 70% as well.

Branch Closures vs. Banking Access

It was once assumed that smaller banks would be able to compete with larger banks because of their more intimate connections with the communities in which they operate. But in 2020, spurred in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, many brick-and-mortar bank branches, including branches of large national banks, closed. While there was initial concern that this might create bank deserts—sections of the country without a bank within commuting distance—the American Bankers Association found that rural, low-income neighborhoods were more likely to have a local banking branch than affluent urban and suburban communities.

As online and mobile banking has become more widespread, the demand for in-person banking has fallen sharply. It no longer makes sense for banks to spend the overhead on staffing and maintaining multiple brick-and-mortar locations in the same location when most of their customers conduct the majority of their transactions on their mobile devices.

The Appeal of Digital Banking

Many banks were forced to shut down their in-person operations in March of 2020 when lockdown restrictions went into place, but the transition away from in-person banking was already well underway. Mobile banking provides more convenience. To visit a bank in person, a customer needs to find time in their schedule between work, errands, housekeeping, and social engagements. They then must commute to the bank, wait for a banker to be available, fill out paperwork, and then drive to their next appointment or back home.

With digital banking, customers have 24/7 access to their bank from anywhere they go. They can complete transactions, account openings, and more on their schedule. A well-designed digital onboarding system also requires less paperwork. Instead of needing to provide an ID for verification, customers can access their accounts with just a fingerprint or face scan.

What is a Digital Transformation?

A digital transformation is a fairly straightforward concept—transforming the way your financial institution operates to rely on more digital processes and emerging technologies. This isn’t as simple as turning your existing applications into fillable web forms and adding more computers to your office. A true digital transformation will require institutions to completely redesign the way they operate while seamlessly integrating all existing data.

What does digital transformation mean for financial institutions?

A digital transformation in financial institutions will include new technologies that use advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence, robust cybersecurity and privacy features, and an online customer experience optimized for ease and efficiency.

As digital banking becomes more widespread, hackers and other bad actors have more opportunities to commit fraud. To protect your institution and your customers, banks will need advanced cybersecurity protocols on both the backend and front end of their systems. Enhanced data analytics will help financial institutions profile customers and quickly and accurately determine how they will behave. Artificial intelligence can then use that data to automatically generate products, responses, or solutions for the customer.

Remaining Competitive

Customers need to be able to easily complete several common banking operations quickly and efficiently—transferring money, scheduling bill payments, making deposits, and opening accounts—from their phones or tablets. Financial institutions’ mobile applications and websites should put the user experience first. Designing a program that is intuitive, easy to navigate, and does not require extraneous information will help financial institutions make their services convenient and easily accessible to users. It should also be easy for customers to access support when they need it. The future of customer-facing business technologies is in figuring out what the customer wants or needs and giving it to them as quickly as possible. Going digital in an accessible and user-friendly manner is one of the keys to ensuring your business remains relevant in the next five years.

Key Takeaways:

The IgniteConnex Solution

IgniteConnex provides a secure, user-friendly digital account opening technologies designed by bankers for bankers. We can help kickstart financial institutions’ digital transformation by enhancing the account application and approval process for new customers. Schedule a Demo to learn more!

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